North Korea referees selected for Women’s World Cup

  • The Fédération Internationale de Football Association has selected two North Korea women referees for the Women’s World Cup, according to a pro-Pyongyang newspaper based in Japan.
North Korean referee Ri Hyang Ok (R) is to referee a Group E match between Canada and Cameroon at the Women’s World Cup on Monday evening.

The Choson Sinbo reported Monday FIFA’s refereeing committee selected Ri Hyang Ok, and Hong Kum Nyo, as referees for the international tournament taking place in France.

The Women’s World Cup began on Friday and concludes on July 7.

Ri is a referee with North Korea’s women’s national soccer team. She was a team member at the 1999 and 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

FIFA said Ri would referee a Group E match between Canada and Cameroon with Hong as assistant. South Korea’s Kim Kyoung-min will also work as an assistant referee with the North Koreans at the match on Monday evening, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

The Choson Sinbo stated Ri and Hong refereed matches at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, including a third-place competition between Britain and Germany. South Korea’s Kim Kyoung-min worked with the North Koreans at the time.

Ri and Hong also refereed a semifinal match at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Ri has previously given interviews to FIFA regarding her career as a soccer player.

“As a player I never made it through to the final. The group phase was as good as it got and then we were on the plane back home. But I really wanted to experience another World Cup, so I asked myself, ‘How can I do that?'” she said in 2018.

ByElizabeth Shim